Google’s 7″ tablet, the Nexus 7, released recently and reviewers have been singing its praises as an extremely powerful Android device for a low cost. I have been using it, and it is one of the best Android experiences out there. But for the photography enthusiast, is this a device worth using?
First, the obvious lack of a rear-facing camera is a downside – no one is going to be setting up to take any photos with the front-facing camera besides self-shots. Getting photos onto the Nexus 7 is not a problem. With a micro-USB host cable, cameras can be plugged into the Nexus 7 and photos can be imported. This even works with plugging in iOS devices! The cable can be found for cheap on eBay or Amazon. The other method is to use a cloud service like Dropbox, or Google+’s Instant Upload, which has a fantastic integration in the native Android Gallery app.
For photo editing apps, the problem is that the 7“ screen size is meant to be used more like a giant smartphone rather than a tablet like the iPad. Yes, it is easier to edit photos on the Nexus 7 than on most Android phones. It just doesn’t have the kind of massive space benefits of a 10” tablet. However, apps designed for a phone work well enough, much better than a 10″ tablet does. However, the large size of the screen leads to some interface elements being not in the optimal position for the screen size. Aviary works well for editing, with just more buttons displayed on the bottom bar, for example.
The Nexus 7 is extremely powerful for gaming and HD movie watching, but two factors are a real bugaboo for phoneographers. One, the lack of storage: 8 GB on the $199 model is absolutely paltry. Go for the 16 GB if possible. Second, the screen suffers from some significant bright detail issues, according to DisplayMate. That alone is a non-starter for photography enthusiasts.
So, my suggestion for the phoneographer looking at the Nexus 7 is to look elsewhere. It he 7“ tablet size is really meant for media consumption, not as an outlet for creativity. Consider a 10” Android tablet like the Transformer Prime or the iPad instead. It’s hard to say that one would be disappointed with the Nexus 7 – it is probably the best Android experience yet – but it’s not ideal for photography.